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German Army re-establishes air defence force

The German Army's re-established air defence force is scheduled to receive Skyranger 30 air-defence systems in 2026. (Rheinmetall)

The German Army announced on its website on 30 April that it is re-establishing its air defence force, initially based in Lüneburg, northern Germany.

The force was disbanded in 2012 but is being re-established as part of the Bundeswehr's refocus on national and alliance defence. Initially, the force will be equipped with Skyranger 30 air-defence systems mounted on Boxer armoured vehicles, providing mobile short-range air defence. This capability will be operated jointly with the IRIS-T SLS (Surface Launched Short Range) air-defence system being procured by the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force.

In addition to the Skyranger 30 procurement, the Bundeswehr has begun identifying personnel for the Germany Army's air defence force, with training scheduled to begin in 2024. A co-ordination and control staff will be established in 2025.

The first unit is scheduled to receive Skyranger 30 systems in 2026, with the completion of the establishment of the air defence force planned by 2028.

Rheinmetall announced on 27 February that the Skyranger 30 prototype will be delivered at the end of 2024, followed by 18 production vehicles, with an option for 30 more.

With Skyranger 30 and IRIS-T SLS, respectively, the German Army and Luftwaffe will provide the Bundeswehr's Nah- und Nächstbereichsschutz (NNbS) short- and very short-range air defence. The NNbS contract was awarded in January to an Arbeitsgemeinschaft (ARGE) working group formed by Rheinmetall Electronics, Diehl Defence, and Hensoldt Sensors.

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